State Government

Gov. Chris Gregoire and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels signed a memorandum of agreement on Saturday, Oct. 24, which outlines the city and state’s construction and funding responsibilities to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with the proposed bored tunnel.

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance on Oct. 19 that endorsed the proposed tunnel and authorized the execution of the agreement.

The agreement establishes a formal partnership between the City of Seattle and Washington state for removing the viaduct along the waterfront, between South King Street and the Battery Street Tunnel. The state will fund the replacement of SR 99 along the waterfront, removal of the remaining viaduct, and construction of a new waterfront boulevard.

The city will improve city streets, such as Mercer Street, replace the central waterfront seawall, relocate utilities, and build new public spaces along the waterfront.

10/26/2009
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Photo courtesy state transportation department Flickr page

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and Governor Chris Gregoire at the signing ceremony for the memorandum of agreement to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division (WSF) will implement a two-week temporary revised schedule on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth ferry route beginning Monday, Nov. 2, according to a release from the state department of transportation.

Customers should expect delays during those two weeks as construction crews work to build new dolphins (offshore structures that help guide the ferry) at the Vashon Island terminal.

From Monday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 15, Manson Construction will replace two 20-year-old dolphins and install three new dolphins at the Vashon Island terminal. This work will close slip 1 and impact the ferry schedule for two weeks. Work will occur daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The state says there will be a minor impact on the weekday schedule for Vashon customers and a significant impact on the schedule for the entire route for the weekends of Nov. 7 and 8 and Nov. 14 and 15.

Go here to view temporary schedule bulletins.

The state also said all customers using the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route should expect delays during this project.

10/23/2009

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Oct. 19 to approve an agreement between the Washington Department of Transportation and the city, authorizing both parties to move forward with the Alaskan Way Viaduct deep bored tunnel and Seawall Replacement.


This agreement marks the fourth in a series of contracts for the project. In September, the council approved three contracts with the state that authorized more than $480 million in state funds to be used for reconfiguring the south portion of the viaduct.
 
“We’ve reached agreement with the state and we will continue moving forward,” said council member Jan Drago, chair of the transportation committee. “The citizens of Seattle deserve more than process, they deserve progress that brings them a vibrant waterfront and a safe, reliable transportation system.”

Mayor Greg Nickels also released a statement about the unanimous council vote.  

10/19/2009
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Courtesy Washington Department of Transportation

The Alaskan Way Viaduct section of State Route 99 runs from South Holgate Street south of downtown Seattle to Battery Street just north of downtown Seattle, where it connects to the Battery Street Tunnel. The Seattle City Council voted Oct. 19 to move forward with the Alaskan Way Viaduct deep bored tunnel and Seawall Replacement.

Governor Chris Gregoire and a handful of other elected officials visited the Nordic Heritage Museum Oct. 8 for a guided tour and hear the museum's plans to move to a new location on Market Street.

Many of the elected officials took the opportunity to praise the Nordic Heritage Museum, the only pan-Nordic museum in North America.

Reuven Carlyle, 36th District Representative, was instrumental in the governor's visit to the museum.

He said he has a particular passion for the Nordic Heritage Museum's relocation project as a Jewish-American because the five nations represented by the museum gave shelter to Jews during the Holocaust.

"This is about the community engaging in the possibilities of what the Nordic Heritage Museum can be in the 21st Century," Carlyle said of the project.

Washington Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles said she is glad the state government could give $1.5 million for the relocation project of the "unique museum that everyone so treasures."

"This building has been incredible but we are looking forward to a much superior building on Market Street," she said.

10/08/2009
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Michael Harthorne

Governor Chris Gregoire speaks about making Ballard the international center for Nordic-American culture Oct. 8 at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Two fare changes will go into effect on Sunday, Oct. 11, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division. On that date, the peak season surcharge ends and a systemwide 2.5 percent fare increase goes into effect.

Per state tariff law, the state ferries implements a 25 percent peak season surcharge for full fare vehicle/driver tickets each year from May 1 until the second Sunday in October. On the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route passenger single fares increase 20 percent during the peak season and vehicle/driver fares increase 35 percent.

Fares will return to the lower, non-peak season rates on Sunday, Oct. 11.

Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division will also implement a 2.5 percent fare increase on all routes on Oct. 11.

Central Puget Sound passenger fares will rise from $6.70 to $6.90; the car and driver rate will go from $11.55 to $11.85. This fare increase was set by the Washington State Transportation Commission, the statewide authority that sets all highway and bridge tolls and ferry fares.

This is the first across-the-board ferry fare increase since May 2007.

10/07/2009
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Ferry at Vashon Terminal. Fares on Washington State Ferries increase by 2.5 percent beginning Oct. 11.

Gov. Christine Gregoire will visit the Nordic Heritage Museum this Thursday, Oct. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. to hear the museum's plans for its new facility to be located on Northwest Market Street.

Guests have been invited to learn about the cultural resources of the museum and its plans to sculpt a new international destination for Nordic culture. The afternoon will include presentations and a visit to the future site of the museum.

The museum shares Nordic and Nordic American culture through a range of educational, cultural, and artistic programs and exhibits.

Please contact Karen Hansen at (206) 789-5707 x25 for more information.

The Nordic Heritage Museum is located at 3014 N.W. 67th St.

10/06/2009

Last week Mayor Greg Nickels presented his 2010 proposed budget to the Seattle City Council. One of the major elements accompanying his final budget is legislation to the council requesting that we approve a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the state signing off on $787 million for the city’s obligations to fund projects related to the bored tunnel.

The council is receiving this legislation eight months after he signed an agreement with the governor and King County executive. The council is scheduled to take a week to evaluate his proposal and approve the MOA.

The legislation will be introduced Monday (Sept. 28) and up for a vote Tuesday in the Transportation Committee, with a final vote expected the following Monday.

There is something wrong with this picture. Why rush to sign an agreement that is barely off the press? What is motivating this breakneck speed after no action for months?

I fear that the public may get the impression that the current mayoral election may have something to do with it. There is no clear reason for the council to bypass our budget deliberations.

09/29/2009

After hearing public comment from meetings on the Kitsap Peninsula, in the San Juan Islands and on Vashon Island, the Washington State Transportation Commission decided today at the Puget Sound Regional Council to increase fares on state ferries, including the Fauntleroy Ferry.

View the proposal here. A proposal for a 10 percent summer surcharge that would be charged for the months of July and August was rejected.

New fares and policies go into effect Oct. 11. The commission is designated as the state tolling authority and sets all state highway and bridge tolls, as well as setting fares for Washington State Ferries.

The proposal includes these elements:

- Applying a 2.5 percent across-the-board general fare increase.

- Making the in-need organization discount permanent (now a pilot program).

- Allowing Washington State Ferries to collect between 25 to 100 percent of the applicable fare as a non-refundable deposit for advance vehicle reservations on routes with a reservation system. This would be a pre-payment of a portion of or the entire fare and is not an additional fee.

09/08/2009
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Ferry at Vashon Terminal. The Washington State Transportation Commission decided today to increase fares.

A couple weeks ago, Rep. Jim McDermott held a “democrats only” meeting, which many of us thought was to be an open-doors town hall.  We were dismayed but not deterred. 

I, along with others, including congressional candidate Steve Beren, peacefully protested outside and engaged in debate – mostly about government healthcare.  I was reminded by my ideological opponents that I am both a shill for the Republican Party and a gigolo for the healthcare industry.
 
I write this piece not to win points against McDermott’s faithful following, but hopefully to win over those sitting on the fence, or who do not want to get into the smack-down fray of local and national politics. 

Congressman McDermott declared at his meeting that “This is war!”  I agree entirely, and I appeal to those sitting on the sidelines to get involved.  The very notion of our constitutional republic is on the chopping blocks. 

McDermott is a lightning rod for an ideological movement, which if successful will bankrupt this country and take away our liberties.  A dramatic statement?  Yes.  True?  You be the judge…
 

08/31/2009

A last minute conflict will prevent State Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Ballard, Queen Anne) from attending the Ballard Farmers Market this Sunday, where he planned to speak with the community about issues affecting the 36th Legislative District.

However, his legislative Aid Lucas Dressel said staff will be there in his place to discuss issues and answer questions.

"Rep. Carlyle remains committed to extensive outreach and expects to continue meeting personally with district residents during events over the coming months," said Dressel.

Carlyle's staff will be available at